Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 Reading Challenge

I use the Goodreads website to track my library and reading habits.  Two years ago, I noticed that Goodreads had a Reading Challenge feature. You set a number of books as a goal and it tracks your progress.

In 2012 and 2013, my goal was to read 50 books each year.  In 2012, I blew that out of the water.  In 2013, I fell short.  You can check out the stats for yourself.

I'll keep the same goal for 2014, but I wanted to finesse it a bit.  You see, one thing I've noticed over a number of years is that I consistently seem to really enjoy British and Commonwealth authors.  It may be pure chance, but it's true.  

Another thing I noticed, this year, is that three of the books I read, and which subsequently ranked as three of my favorite books ever, were winners of the Man Booker prize:  The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood, and Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel.

Unsurprisingly, books eligible for the Man Booker must be written by authors who are citizens of Great Britain, Ireland, Zimbabwe, or the Commonwealth of Nations.

So, for 2014, I pulled a list of books shortlisted for the Man Booker prize.  I located the ones I currently own, but have not read.That gave me twelve books (plus one ebook):

That's a good start, but to expand the challenge I went ahead and did the same thing with the Booker longlist from 2001 forward.  

That's eight more books.  However.  A modification is in order.  

The shortlist includes number9dream by David Mitchell.  The longlist adds Black Swan Green and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet.  I have read his other two published books:  Cloud Atlas and Ghostwritten.  Those two launched Mitchell, in my personal system, into the ranks of Authors Whose Books I Must Make Last.  Special treats, to be read one per year or every other year.  So, I'll keep number9dream on the list and skip the others, for the sake of future reading pleasure.    

2014 Man Booker Reading Challenge
19 books (20 if I can ever find my copy of The God of Small Things!)

  • Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
  • Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood
  • number9dream by David Mitchell
  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
  • The Night's Watch by Sarah Waters
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
  • A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
  • Fire from Heaven by Mary Renault
  • The Book of Evidence by John Banville
  • We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (ebook)
  • Get a Life by Nadine Gordimer
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susannah Clarke
  • Elizabeth Costello by J.M. Coetzee
  • Saturday by Ian McEwan
  • Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
  • The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard
Some new authors and some old favorites.  This should be fun!

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